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State briefs for November 15

bird program to end after 9 die

HONOLULU (AP) — The Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project will halt its program after the deaths of nine endangered birds, officials said.

The decision to suspend the project on the windward slopes of Maui’s Haleakala volcano came after at least nine of 13 kiwikiu apparently succumbed to avian malaria, program scientists said.

Five captive and four wild birds died within a few weeks, some before they were released, while another bird was missing, officials said.

“The bottom underlying thing of all of this is, we’re losing the birds,” project coordinator Hanna Mounce said. “They are dying. They are going extinct, and there’s nothing we can do right now with the current tools that we have available to us to prevent that from happening.”

The kiwikiu is a yellow and olive-green Hawaiian honeycreeper with an estimated remaining population of up to about 300 birds. The species, also known as the Maui parrotbill, faces threats from habitat destruction by people and feral pigs, predators such as wild cats and mongooses, and avian disease spread by mosquitoes, officials said.

The Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project transported the kiwikiu to the Nakula Natural Area Reserve in hopes they would breed, officials said.

Man claims self-defense in fatal shooting

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii man was charged with killing a 16-year-old in a shooting he said was self-defense, court records said.

Richard M. Obrero, 50, appeared in Honolulu District Court Tuesday on charges of second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and a firearm-related offense.

Starsky Willy suffered a gunshot wound to his torso Nov. 7 and was taken in critical condition to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Obrero reported to police that his Honolulu property was burglarized around 9 p.m. by four males he said fled to a public housing complex.

Obrero told his wife he shot one of the males with his semi-automatic pistol when they returned and jumped over the fence between the home and the housing complex around 11 p.m., court documents said.

Officers responding to a 911 call found Obrero in his backyard wearing a ballistic vest and peering over the fence. Obrero did not have anything in his hands and told officers, “They’re shooting at me. They’re shooting at my house. Do something. Do your job,” records said.

Several people fired shots from BB guns at Obrero’s property from behind a vehicle.

An officer drew his firearm and directed the group to raise their hands. Police then heard a person yell, “He shot my boy,” court records said.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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